Young Scientists Explore ‘Kitchen Chemistry’

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The Science Museum of Long Island brought its learning lab to John F. Kennedy Intermediate School and engaged students with hands-on experiments that brought them through the scientific process. JFK students worked with professional scientists in Kitchen Chemistry, during which their objective was to identify the proteins, sugars and carbohydrates found in a range of foods and household materials.

Using common household materials, students learned about the world of chemical reactions, determining the differences between an acid and a base by using an indicator. They developed hypotheses, sharing and discussing their predicted outcomes with their peers. In their experiments, students utilized pipettes and test tubes to study simple foods and products, mixing a variety of chemicals and observing chemical reactions, then documenting the effects. Cabbage water was the liquid used as a constant throughout the experiments, as students added a variety of common products including lemon juice, baking soda and detergent to observe the reactions.

Once completed, students analyzed the visual results of the chemical reactions with a color spectrum chart that identified various components. Color codes corresponded with varying pH levels to help students decipher whether each ingredient was an acid or base, as well as the respective degrees of strength.

By the end of the exercise, students gained a strong understanding of the components that make up these household materials and were equally excited that they were able to cause chemical reactions with a little sizzle and pop!